UFO Chronology 1877-2006
About two and a half years after starting drafting it (and
several more years after starting relevant reading), I am now
ready to share a preliminary draft of a chronology of frequently
discussed UFO and SETI related events from 1877-2006 ("Koi
Chrono Core" for short).
This Chronology, like my heart, is dedicated to my wife.
I originally had in mind preparing a chronology about 20-30
pages long. The Chronology quickly became, um, considerably
longer. The current draft is approximately 1,800 pages long
(much of which is taken up with references).
Due to the technical wizardry of Joe McGonagle and Gary Anthony
(for which I am very grateful) the download is available as a
zipped Word document of about 1.6 Mb. Using a broadband service,
this should download in about a second or two. Un-zipped, the
file size is approximately 9.1 Mb.
Following various technical problems, the Moderator of UFO
UpDates (Errol Bruce-Knapp) kindly stepped in and offered to
host the relevant files on his webspace. The full draft
Chronology should (fingers crossed!) be available at the links
The first link (below) is to a zipped Word copy of the full
Chronology, which is about 1.6 Mb:
http://tinyurl.com/re7ae (dead link)
The next link (below) is to an unzipped copy of the same Word
document. This is quite a bit bigger, so I wouldn't recommend
trying this one unless you have a rather fast internet
connection and don't have unzipping software (or if you, like me
until recently, don't know what zipped files are). It is about
http://tinyurl.com/oahe7 (dead link)
The download is free. This document, or extracts from it, may be
freely used (including being distributed, printed or
cannibalised) for non-commercial purposes (subject to a couple
of minor conditions, included in the first footnote to the
document). If it isn't used, I've wasted quite a bit of time!
[UFOINFO Note: A PDF version of the chronology is available for download via a link at the end of this article with a file size of 8.73Mb]
The Chronology gives the dates of various frequently discussed
events, incidents, individuals and documents in the history of
ufology and is cross-referenced to related material.
I have concentrated on references to discussions in UFO and SETI
books. As part of the preparation of this document, I have read
a little over 1,000 such books noting relevant discussions.
So that others can see which books I've intended to cover
already and carry on from where I've already reached, I've tried
to follow the self imposed Rules when drafting the Chronology:
(A) If the footnote to one entry refers to a book, that _entire_
book has to be reviewed for material relevant to the footnotes
for _any_ other entry or entries;
(B) Each book reviewed for relevant material _must_ be listed in
the Chronology with an entry in the following format "[Year of
Copyright] - Book: [Author] [Title]"
(C) If a new entry is added, each of the books that has already
been reviewed must be reviewed again to check if they contained
material relevant to the new entry.
I have not stuck rigidly to the last of these "Rules". As a
result of that Rule, after reading the first 50 or so books I
re-read each of them to look for references relevant to entries
that had been added. However, when I added entries after reading
(as happened in several instances) about 900 books, I was (to
put it mildly) rather reluctant to re-read all the earlier
books. Thus, the references for various late additions are
relatively incomplete. Fortunately, the number of such entries
is rather limited.
I have also made a start on cross-referencing events to
underlying primary material (including US Air Force, CIA and FBI
documentation) and included a limited number of hyperlinks to
material available on the Internet.
This Chronology is intended to act as an efficient way of
organising references and hyperlinks to relevant material, in
the interests of more fully informed debate and reducing the
amount of reinvention of the wheel.
Under the present civil litigation procedure in England in large
commercial cases, the parties to litigation are expected to co-
operate in various respects so as to make a case fit for trial
in as efficient and fair a manner as possible. This commonly
involves, at the most basic level, producing various agreed (and
therefore non-conteniously drafted) documents so that the trial
judge will be able to understand the nature of the dispute and
the issues in dispute as efficiently as possible. These non-
contentious documents typically include:
(1) a chronology (giving the dates of key events, a few words to
identify the event and cross references to further material
relied upon by both sides in relation to that event;
(2) a List of Issues (listing the main issues agreed and not
agreed between the parties);
(3) a case memorandum (summarising the case in just a few
(4) a dramatis personae (listing the names that the Judge will
come across at trial, with a few words to identify them);
(5) a glossary (listing technical terms or terms of art that
will arise during the trial, with an agreed definition of those
(6) a reading list (of material to be read in advance of the
I believe that ufology would greatly benefit from adopting some
elements of this approach. All too often, the debates regarding
UFO reports do not focus on the real issues (or even identify
the issues which should be addressed).
The English High Court's "Admiralty & Commercial Court Guide"
(commonly referred to as "the Commercial Court Guide") contains
the following in relation to chronologies:
"3. As far as possible chronologies and indices should not be
prepared in a tendentious form. The ideal is that the court and
the parties should have a single point of reference that all
find useful and are happy to work with.
4. Where there is disagreement about a particular event or
description, it is useful if that fact is indicated in neutral
terms and the competing versions shortly stated.
5. If time and circumstances allow its preparation, a chronology
or index to which all parties have contributed and agreed can be
6. Chronologies and indices once prepared can be easily updated
and are of continuing usefulness throughout the life of the
Many books are written in chronological order. Some of those
books contain a recap of many of the facts and matters covered
in this Working Document. However, those books also contain
evaluations of the relevant events and are rarely (if ever)
written in a non-contenious style.
If the chronology is to be a manageable document, the
information about the relevant event contained within the
chronology must be kept to an absolute minimum. Since the
chronology will only cover well-known key dates and incidents,
in most instances the information may only need to be a few
words (e.g. "Sighting by Kenneth Arnold") rather than a full
description of the relevant event. Therefore, the chronology is
_not_ designed to:
(a) act as an encyclopedia. There are already several
encyclopedia relating to UFOs (e.g. those by Jerome Clark,
Ronald Story and Margaret Sachs).
(b) act as a survey of the history of Ufology. Again, several
books of this nature have already been written (e.g. by Jacobs,
Dolan and Peebles).
(c) set out primary material. The Chronology is not designed to
duplicate the work done by others, particularly by Loren Gross.
(d) act as a comprehensive bibliography. Book length
bibliographies have been published already, and the AFU has
recently released on the Internet a fairly comprehensive
bibliography of UFO books.
(e) act as a list of all UFO sightings, or even all allegedly
significant sightings. Various large databases already exist
(including UFOCAT and Larry Hatch's *U* Database).
I'd like to stress that the current draft is just that - a
draft. The Chronology is far from finished. Indeed, it never
will be completely finished. There will always be more
references that could be added. The amount of further work done
on the present draft, and the form that it takes, will depend at
least in part on the amount and nature of the feedback obtained
on the present draft.
The draft chronology is intended to be easy to edit (whether by
adding to the present draft, or to delete existing entries). In
particular, it is important to note that it is not necessary to
insert any entry at the relevant point in the main table or the
endnote tables. An entry can be inserted at any point (including
the beginning or the end) and then the table can simply be
sorted. Many of the endnotes contain tables of references. Those
tables can be cut and pasted into a new document, and then
sorted alphabetically, chronologically or by length of
Assistance and suggestions from other individuals or groups
would be more than welcome. In order of priority, I would
particular welcome input in relation to the following:
(1) any concerns (however slight) about any ethical issues
arising in relation to the draft Chronology;
(2) any concerns about any apparent bias in the content of the
(3) suggestions as to the way forward. I am considering a number
of ideas, including getting a small group together to discuss
relevant issues and/or raising specific queries on the UFO
Updates List (if the moderator, EBK, has no objection). Another
possibility is simply abandoning further work on the Chronology
so that I can concentrate on other projects;
(4) mistakes in the dates for an entry. This sort of mistake is
easily corrected, and given the title of the document it would
be embarrassing if errors in the dates are not corrected. Please
note that the dates for an incident can vary from source to
source, so suggestions of corrections to the date of the
incident should ideally refer to primary source material. (I'd
estimate the error rate in UFO books in relation to dates to be
approximately 5-10%. In particular dates for alleged sightings
by astronauts vary to such an extent that I'm sorely tempted
simply to delete the whole damn lot of them);
(5) mistakes in the short summary given for each entry;
(6) mistakes in the existing references;
(7) further individual references to _primary_ source material
available in published books in relation to existing entries
(e.g. where an entry exists in the Chronology for a CIA
document, I would like to include multiple references to images
and/or the complete text of that document so that it can be
located by other researchers as quickly as possible);
(8) material missed for existing entries from books _already_
listed in the Chronology. I currently own all the books listed
in the Chronology in the format "[Year of Copyright] - Book:
[Author] [Title]" and thus can quickly access those books;
(9) suggestions as to the priority of further books to be
reviewed (particularly those containing significant primary
source material). I read a lot, so feel free to give
recommendations. If the relevant book is not listed in the
Chronology in the format "[Year of Copyright] - Book: [Author]
[Title]" then I probably haven't bought that book yet;
(10) further individual references to discussions in published
books of events in existing entries in the draft Chronology;
(11) suggestions in relation to referencing internet material.
Please note that this item is deliberately placed at the end of
this list, because of the distressingly short period of time
most links remain valid. Many of the links I inserted in the
earliest draft of the Chronology in 2003 became invalid before
the preliminary draft of the Chronology was completed in
Various chronologies are already available online, including the
(a) A chronology entitled "Chronology of UFO History" by FUFOR
http://www.fufor.com/ufo_chronology.htm (dead link)
(b) A chronology entitled "UFO Chronology by Year", apparently
prepared by a chaper of MUFON at:
(c) A chronology entitled "Government Involvement in the UFO
Coverup" by "PEA Research" at:
(d) A short chronology entitled "A Century of UFOs" at:
(e) Several pages, starting at:
http://ufos.about.com/library/bldata/bltime.htm (dead link)
(f) "A Brief SETI Chronology" by Owen, Robert M on the SETI
League website, at:
(g) Last but certainly not least, an ambitious chronology is also
in preparation by Fran Ridge on the "NICAP" website.
Various chronologies have also been included in several books,
including by the following authors:
(1) Flammonde, Paris in his "UFO Exist!" (1976) at pages 426-445
(Appendix 1 generally) of the Ballantine Books paperback
(2) Hall, Michael David in his "UFOs : A Century of Sightings"
(3) Randles, Jenny in her "Little Giant UFO Encyclopedia"
(4) Hall, Richard "The UFO Evidence" (Volumes 1 and 2).
Also, an interesting "Parrallel Time Line" by Martin S Kottmeyer
and Ronald Story provides an outline timeline showing
(a) ufology and SETI,
(b) science and technology,
(c) science fiction, and
(d) politics and religion.
That timeline is printed in "The Encyclopedia of
Extraterrestrial Encounters" (2001) (edited by Ronald Story) at
pages 401, 403-417 (in an entry entitled "Parallel Time Line")
of the New American Library softcover edition, at pages 392,
393-407 of the pdf edition (with the same page numbering in the
Microsoft Word edition) and in "The Mammoth Encyclopedia of
Extraterrestrial Encounters" (2001) (edited by Ronald Story) at
pages 486-487, 488-502 (in an entry entitled "Parallel Time
Line") of the Robinson softcover edition.
I hope this Chronology is found to be useful, and used.
UFOINFO would like to thank Isaac Koi and UFO UpDates for granting permission to use this article. To keep up to date with follow-up reports and discussions you are advised to subscribe to UFO UpDates by writing to Errol Bruce-Knapp at: email@example.com
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